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Astrid Rog and Geoffrey Harreman, BIO-Center Zann:

"Our organic fruit and vegetable range goes all over Europe"

BIO-Center Zann's organic fruit and vegetable range is making its mark across Europe. "We initially primarily focused on exports, but over the last few years, Dutch customers have increasingly found their way to us. We've garnered a fair amount of business from Dutch farm shops and organic stores with vegetable boxes and subscriptions. They carry their own produce for most of the year. But when local products are no longer available, they turn to us for imported goods to keep serving their customers," begins Director Astrid Rog.

The Zann team

Sticking to the 'as local as possible, as far as necessary' motto, this Dutch organic specialist aims to serve its clients with a year-round product range. "We'll always offer Dutch products for as long as we can. Once the season ends, we consider which imported products we can offer, starting with Europe and moving further afield," buyer Geoffrey Harreman explains. "But we always buy directly from the source. We know all of our growers personally and visit them annually. We're not just another trader."

Argentinian Williams pears arriving in two weeks
Earlier this year, he and his colleague, Robbin Lansbergen, visited South American growers. BIO-Center Zann imports mainly pumpkins, apples, and pears from Argentina and Chile. From Peru, it sources organic ginger, avocados, and, to a lesser extent, citrus.

The overseas organic top fruit season is about to begin. "We only start with this once our Dutch organic Conference pears are finished. In two weeks, we'll begin importing the first Argentinian Williams pears. We're set to run a robust program this year. Argentina harvested more pears than apples," says Geoffrey.

"This year, we also have a strong South African program with organic red, black, and white seedless grapes. That category has grown significantly in the last three years. The Peruvian avocado season is also around the corner. We always start that a little later, after the Spanish season ends. But that season begins in three to four weeks, followed by Kenya. Organic avocados have been quite expensive all season as have mangoes, which we'll get from Peru again in week 13. That market outlook seems promising."

As much in-house as possible
BIO-Center Zann relocated in 2019. "With a relatively small 25-person team, we do as much as possible in-house," says Astrid. "By managing everything ourselves, we can be flexible. We do a lot of trade annually and strive to get fresh, organic products to clients as quickly as possible. Our global network means we can adapt quickly. For example, if there's a pumpkin shortage in the market, we can quickly respond."

"We have a wide variety of buyers, from small to large, in a nice mix of day trading and programs. We monitor quality closely, and when products arrive, we ensure they go to customers the same day if possible. Our client feedback shows that they greatly appreciate that," Astrid points out.

Demeter cucumbers
The Dutch organic greenhouse vegetable season has also kicked off with the arrival of the first Demeter cucumbers. "The Dutch organic greenhouse vegetable supply is decreasing, and more organic growers are stopping than starting. We have a strong program with our own growers, selling their complete organic greenhouse vegetable harvest."

"That gives us a solid program of organic cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, and various types of tomatoes from February to late October. We stand shoulder to shoulder with these growers. We do everything for them, and they do everything for us. We're always open to talks with interested organic growers. Our calling card is that we pay quickly, but that's nothing new," explains Astrid.

With the Bio-Beurs, Fruit Logistica, and BioFach, BIO-Center Zann has already attended three trade shows this year. "We attend those religiously. Each has its target audience, and it's great to meet the many producers and buyers and hear what's happening in the market," Geoffrey concludes.

For more information:
Astrid Rog
1 Edison Street,
2652 XS, Berkel en Rodenrijs
The Netherlands
Tel.: +31 (0) 104 775 688
Whatsapp: +31 (0) 622 205 538
[email protected]

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